Bed bug infestations are a serious health threat and occur where people live in close quarters. It can take up to 18 months to eradicate a bed bug problem. Individual efforts to get rid of bed bugs often fail due to the larvae’s hardiness and lifespan. It is often necessary to bring in bed bug exterminators to do the job; however, there are some safe, non-toxic, natural solutions you can use to protect yourself from a bed bug infestation before having to resort to an exterminator for bed bugs. Prevention is the first line defense for bed bug control.
How do you know if you have bed bugs?
Look carefully at mattresses, suitcases, upholstered furniture and in crevices along walls and floors for signs of bedbugs. If you’re traveling, pay special attention to your hotel room. Bed bugs look like tiny brown specs about 1/8 inch long. They often leave brown, rust-like stains on furniture and especially on mattresses, which are blood stains.
Can you die from bed bugs?
Being bitten by bed bugs will not kill you, but the bites can be very irritating and possibly trigger an allergic reaction.
Bed bug bites appear as itchy, small red welts forming in a line along the skin. They are most often visible in the morning after sleeping if the bed and mattress are infested.
Bed bug bites can cause a rash over the entire body including the scalp and face. In some instances, a person may be allergic to bedbug venom and have an allergic reaction such as swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue and throat. This is cause for immediate medical attention.
Preventing Bedbug Infestation
·Examine all items of used furniture purchased before bringing them home. Check seams and cracks for living bugs and the husks of their shells.
·Look in suitcases before bringing them home from a vacation or business trip.
·Always examine mattresses in hotels along the seams and tufts for evidence of bed bugs before you unpack. Pull back the sheets and check for dark spots which indicate blood stains from crushed bedbugs. If you find evidence of a bed bug infestation in a hotel room, don’t unpack and leave the room immediately.
·Sprinkle food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) on furniture and mattresses to eradicate the infestation. If you sprinkle DE on a mattress, cover the mattress with a heavy plastic cover to contain the bugs as they are dying and protect yourself against inhaling the DE.
·Sprinkle boric acid powder on furniture that is infested and vacuum up after a day. Repeat weekly for a month to exterminate bed bugs. Do not use boric acid on the bed or if pets live in the house. It is poisonous.
Bedbug extermination prevention and clean out
If you find bed bugs in your home, a total clean out is necessary. Sanitation of the entire area is a must.
·Replace the mattress if possible. Encase the entire mattress in a plastic cover which confines the bed bugs and eventually suffocates them.
·Wash all clothing and bedding in hot water and dry on high.
·Check cracks along baseboards and sprinkle diatomaceous earth or boric acid powder. Use a bulb dispenser with a pointed tip to apply powder behind wall plugs and into cracks.
·Clean out piles of books and papers where bedbugs can hide.
·Steam clean carpets and upholstered furniture if possible.
It is not wise to under-react to a bed bugs problem. They multiply quickly and can cause major health problems in a home.
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